Russia has gotten much of the blame for the Syrian chemical attack earlier this month, given that the country is President Assad's closest large ally. And since the United States responded with a missile strike last week, relations between the two countries have approached an all-time low. Now, things are so bad that Rex Tillerson won't even meet with President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow this week (and they used to be buds). So: What will Russia do if Trump bombs Syria again? Evidently Russia has offered a warning in response to the U.S. air strikes against any further military action.
The warning came via a statement from the joint command center of Syria's allies, namely Russia and Iran, ABC News reported. The statement promised to defend Syria and its embattled leader, Assad. The wording of the warning was pretty strong, speaking of red lines and the willingness to defend the Assad regime "with all the means that [they] have":
It also took a swipe at the United States. "Russia and Iran will not allow the United States to be the only superpower in world," the statement read. Reuters reported that the warning was first published by media outlet Ilam al Harbi (War Media). Evidently Putin and Hassan Rouhani of Iran spoke over the weekend and decided that the U.S. strike was "not permissible and violated international law," Reuters reported.
Rouhani also spoke out against the attacks at a public ceremony in Tehran marking the country's nuclear technology. "How does the US president allow himself to attack an independent country in the sensitive region of the Middle East… without the permission of the United Nations, without a meeting of the UN Security Council and even without the permission of the US Congress?" Rouhani said at the ceremony.
Russia and Iran say US has crossed 'red line' over airstrikes on Syria https://t.co/WZZ5AjyA9N— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 10, 2017
Now, the question is whether or not Tillerson can make some progress on Syria — ideally pressuring Russia to get rid of their chemical weapons (for the second time) — while minimizing the strain on the U.S.-Russia relationship. Some State Department officials told CNN that the trip is designed to cause a wedge between Putin and Assad, which could better ally Russian and American interests in the region.
Tillerson spoke on ABC's This Week Sunday before leaving on his trip. "[Russia] should have the greatest influence on Bashar al-Assad, and certainly his decisions to use chemical weapons. They should have the greatest influence on him to cause him to no longer use those," Tillerson told host George Stephanopoulos.
For the civilians in Syria, you can only hope that Putin's old friend can make the case to the Russian government to do something more.